Severe Tropical Storm Onyok gains more strength, slows down

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MANILA, Philippines – Severe Tropical Storm Onyok (Mitag) strengthened even more and also slowed down on Sunday morning, September 29.

In a bulletin issued 11 am on Sunday, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said Onyok now has maximum winds of 100 kilometers per hour (km/h) from the previous 95 km/h and gustiness of up to 125 km/h from the previous 115 km/h.

Onyok might strengthen further into a typhoon within 24 hours. (READ: FAST FACTS: Tropical cyclones, rainfall advisories)

It is already 500 kilometers east of Tuguegarao City, Cagayan, or 530 kilometers east of Calayan, Cagayan.

Onyok is now moving northwest at a slower 15 km/h from the previous 30 km/h.

The severe tropical storm is not expected to make landfall in the Philippines. But Signal No. 1 is still up over:

Signal No. 1 means winds of 30 km/h to 60 km/h are expected.

PAGASA added that Onyok's trough or extension is still bringing scattered rainshowers and thunderstorms, ranging from light to moderate. These regions are affected:

Sunday morning, September 29, to Monday morning, September 30

Other parts of the country only have isolated rainshowers or localized thunderstorms on Sunday.

Travel is also risky, especially for small vessels, in the seaboards of areas under Signal No. 1 and in the northern and eastern seaboards of Luzon.

Based on Onyok's latest forecast track, it could leave the Philippine Area of Responsibility on Monday afternoon or evening, September 30.

Forecast track of Severe Tropical Storm Onyok (Mitag) as of September 29, 2019, 11 am. Image from PAGASA

Forecast track of Severe Tropical Storm Onyok (Mitag) as of September 29, 2019, 11 am.

Image from PAGASA

Onyok is the Philippines' 15th tropical cyclone for 2019, and the 5th in September. (READ: LIST: PAGASA's names for tropical cyclones in 2019)

The country gets an average of 20 tropical cyclones annually, but since 2019 is an El Niño year, only 14 to 18 tropical cyclones are expected.

At most 4 tropical cyclones had been previously forecast for September. Below is the estimated number of tropical cyclones from September to December:

PAGASA declared the start of the rainy season last June 14. –